Weekend fire claims local church

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Bragg Hill AME Zion church fell victim to an accidental fire, which totally destroyed the rural worship center on Saturday, January 11.

Greenville Fire Chief Mike Phillips said that at approximately 1 a.m., the city fire department, Forest Home and Liberty community volunteer fire departments were called to the church, which is located in the northwestern part of the county on Butler County Road 54, and found it totally involved in flames.

&uot;Upon our arrival, the back part of the church had already fallen in, and the steeple fell soon after,&uot; Phillips said. &uot;No one was hurt in the incident – the building apparently was vacant at the time of the fire.&uot;

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The fire marshal, who investigates all church fires, said the cause of the fire originated in the kitchen area of the church where a pan had been left on an active stove burner.

&uot;It was a total loss,&uot; Phillips said. &uot;By the time the fire was reported and the firemen arrived at the location, all they could do was maintain the fire and prevent it from spreading.&uot;

The church was established in 1904 and was rebuilt in 1936 after another fire claimed the structure.